A crack team of scientists is coming together with an ambitious goal: Battle aging. Craig Venter, the geneticist who created synthetic life, is pairing up with stem cell leader Dr. Robert Hariri and Dr. Peter Diamandis, founder of the X Prize Foundation; their Human Longevity Inc. has set its initial sights on cancer, but also intends to initially focus on the likes of diabetes, dementia, heart disease, and liver disease in an effort to keep adults healthy as they get older—for as long as possible. "Our goal is to make 100 years old the new 60," says Diamandis, according to Businessweek. Adds Venter, according to the New York Times, "Your age is your No. 1 risk factor for almost every disease, but it’s not a disease itself."
At the root of the new venture will be what Venter touts as the world's biggest human DNA sequencing operation; the group has already bought two uber-high-tech HiSeq X Ten gene sequencing systems from Illumina, which has provided a healthy share of Human Longevity's $70 million in funding. The systems will allow the group to sequence 40,000 human genomes a year, from the young and healthy to the old and ill, Reuters reports. Ultimately, the company hopes to sequence 100,000 human genomes per year. Combined with information on each person (medical records, genetic data from their microbes, the chemicals in their bloodstream), they hope to gain a better understanding of how to prevent disease, and in turn lower the cost of medication by offering people potentially more effective medication designed for their genetic profile, USA Today reports. (Click to read about a billionaire who says he's reversed the aging process.)